(Looking good, Matty! Photo courtesy of Tokyo Five.)
Long Island’s Matt Serra may love to crack jokes, but he wants you to know that it’s not all he’s doing as his fight with Frank Trigg at UFC 109 grows closer. In our exclusive interview, Serra gives us his thoughts on his opponent, his career in the UFC, and why he spends so much time in the barbership.
This fight comes at a time when you and Frank Trigg are both coming off losses and both in your mid-thirties. Where do you think this is going to leave you if you win or if you lose?
I don’t really know, and I don’t care. That’s up to whoever does those rankings or whatever. Technically, I’m coming off two losses. Do I feel like that? No, because I don’t even feel I lost my last fight. They offered me Frank Trigg, and I don’t look at as my chance to move up or anything like that. I see this as an entertaining fight and an exciting fight, on paper, and a good match-up. That’s basically how I look at it. I had the belt, and if my career leads back there then great. If it doesn’t, I’m looking for exciting fights.
Since you are coming off two losses, even though, as you said, the fight with Matt Hughes could have gone either way, do you worry about your job security if you lose this fight?
No, I’m not too worried about it. I have a great relationship with the UFC. I’m a pretty easy guy to work with. They call me up and tell me who they want me to fight, and I take it. There’s not one time where I’ve ever said to them, ‘Nah, I think I can do better.’ That’s just how it works between us. They called me up with Trigg and I said, ‘Sure. That sounds good.’ Joe Silva’s pretty good at this matchmaking stuff so if he puts you in there against someone you know it’s probably going to be a good fight.
It seems like every other fighter talks about trying to get to the top and get a belt. Do you give any thought to where you’re trying to go at this point in your career?
When you get paid to do something you love, it’s like a kid playing Little League and next thing you know you’re on the Yankees. I enjoy this. I enjoy the preparation. I’m in Vegas now, a little early, getting acclimated and keeping my edge sharp. I love all the lead-up and I love the fight night and that’s why I do it. That’s why I continue to do it. I’m not saying I don’t put any thought into it, but I don’t have any master plan. I already had the belt; this is all gravy for me now and I’m just enjoying it.
I was watching your video blog the other day it reminded me that you’re one of the few guys in the UFC who doesn’t train at a big camp with a bunch of other guys at the same level.
It’s funny with the video blogs, the way they cut it up. You see twenty seconds of me doing push-ups or hitting the pads and the next thing you know I’m like, ‘All right, I’m going home.’ Then people say it doesn’t look like I’m training hard. But they didn’t capture a fifth of what I do for training on the video blogs. There’s retards who will look at that and think, hey this guy cracks a lot of jokes, but he’s not really doing anything. They just have to be a moron to think that.
As far as training with a big team, we have a ton of talent on the Serra/Longo team. We have a lot of great wrestlers, guys who are constantly fighting, whether it’s kickboxing or boxing or whatever. Just because they’re not names you heard of doesn’t mean they aren’t good guys to train with and spar with. And we got guys you heard of too. We got Pete Sell and Luke Cummo and guys like that. As far as rolling and jiu-jitsu, I don’t think it gets better anywhere. Between my schools in Long Island, and also I can go to the city to Renzo’s school. We’ve got a lot to choose from and I think we have all our bases covered.
Speaking of the way the video blogs are edited, I don’t think I’ve seen one yet where you don’t go to the barbershop at some point.
I go to the barbershop every week. Every week. I get a nice touch-up, you know. I like to keep it tight. I’m not a pretty boy or anything. I just like a nice fade.
Seems like they love you down there.
Oh yeah. They’re my buddies down at the barbershop. It’s in the same strip as my school. So I go down there, get my fade, hang out and see what’s going on with the guys. It’s great.
Do you think people still look at your championship win over GSP and think of it as a fluke? And do you think that’s because the odds were so incredible against you. I think it was something like 8-1, right?
At one point it was 14-1. People look at that, and you can say yeah, it was an upset. But a fluke? No way. People also looked at that and said I was going to get killed by Hughes because they thought my win over GSP was a fluke. Although I didn’t get the decision against Hughes, it won Fight of the Night and there’s no way you can say it wasn’t a close match. It could have gone either way.
If that didn’t change those people’s perception, then I don’t really care. I love all my supporters and fans, but no matter what you do there will be those people. I could win my next five fights by knockout and they’ll find something about me they don’t like. There’s always someone out there sipping that Haterade, and that’s fine.
You’ve been in this sport for more than ten years now, and it’s changed so much in that time. When you started in MMA did you ever think that this would be your life some day?
Regardless, martial arts was my living. Even when I got into the UFC, I used the money from my second fight in the UFC to open my school. I lived in the basement of my school for two years after I first opened it. Now, when I’m not fighting, I run my school and just focus on that. I always used one dream to support the other. The money from fighting helps me to run my schools, and my style of teaching and doing the martial arts leads me to fighting. It’s my life, and I’m living the dream.
My last question for you, have you been successful yet in your quest to find a Triggonomics t-shirt?
No, no. I couldn’t find one. To tell you the truth, I didn’t look that hard. But I can’t believe that those did not take off. Just can’t believe it. Tapout, Affliction, why not Triggonomics?
We may never know the answer to the question.
No, we may never know. Actually, yes I do. It’s because it sounds like a lemonade stand. Who knows. I just can’t picture someone going out and saying, ‘Man, I gotta get one of those Triggonomics shirts.’ It’s okay though. I’ll take care of that guy and put him to rest right alongside Triggonomics.